Direct mail is changing. Marketers may still occasionally create campaigns to send the exact offer to an entire list, but they are keenly interested in personalized pieces. Marketing people know that personalized approaches create better results. With personalized campaigns, they invest more money in data analysis, creative design, and integrated channels to achieve the ROI that makes direct mail worthwhile.
For mailers, processing personalized direct mail demands a greater emphasis on document integrity, a new area for some mailers. Clients expect their service providers to account for every mail piece in the job. Discarding damaged documents may have been acceptable in the “spray and pray” days, but that’s no longer the case. Greater up-front data costs, triggered multi-channel messaging, and smaller list sizes force mail service providers into the world of item tracking and reprints.
Here’s three ways personalized direct mail will change the way mail service providers handle jobs in their shops:
Multiple elements in a direct mail packet may be personalized. They must be matched perfectly. Mailers must check the identity of each element before adding it to the package. You can match with 2D barcodes, OCR characters, or even images, but it must be done. Spot-checking isn’t good enough. Sending mismatched elements to a mail recipient not only defeats the purpose of personalization, it discourages customers from responding to the offer.
Documents will get damaged during production. Pieces get jammed in machinery or have defects like ink dropouts, smudges, and smears. Tossing damaged pieces in the trash isn’t acceptable. Unmailed marketing pieces lower the campaign’s ROI, which could discourage marketers from further investments in direct mail advertising. Integrated multi-channel campaigns may feature triggers such as USPS mailpiece scans to issue email or text messages timed to coincide with mail delivery. Your clients will know if a mailpiece didn’t go out.
Duplicates or Missing Pieces
Every mailpiece in a personalized campaign is important. Clients expect mail service providers to catch errors such as duplicate batches or missed mailpieces as they process the job. Learning the service provider mailed such mistakes not only results in client demands for refunds, they could very well cause a client to stop doing business with your company. Cameras mounted on mailing equipment capture item identification numbers as mail is processed and compares the information to data files of expected items. Any duplication, missing, or out of sequence condition will stop the machine and alert the operator.
You may have been in the direct mail business for a long time and never concerned yourself with the issues described above. To be competitive, document integrity must be part of the service you offer to your direct mail clients. If not, clients will find someone that can provide the levels of quality and accountability they demand.
Document Data Solutions has been manufacturing vision-based verification equipment and software for twenty years. We understand exactly what our customers must do to meet client expectations and regularly adapt our solutions to meet their unique needs and equipment configurations. To learn more about what document integrity means to your business, contact us today.